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Dissociation, pychosis, things getting worse - Carers UK Forum

Dissociation, pychosis, things getting worse

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Hi there,

I'm new to the forums, so hope I am posting in the right place.

I work full time as a teacher and also care for my fiancée who is often not in control of her actions due to dissociation, and in this state she engages in various life-endangering behaviours. She is more unsafe than normal at the moment and I'm more worried than normal about going to work on Monday. There's always a risk, but normally it's balanced by the need to work to support myself financially and also her need to be independent. She is under the crisis team who are largely ineffective and will most likely ignore our desperate pleas to offer her an admission, as they seemingly prefer to wait until she dissociates and severely harms herself to stop saying anything other than "try to think positive, we can't be with you 24/7". Now I do understand their need to prioritise and try to avoid admission where possible, but equally shutting the door after the horses have bolted (or whatever the expression is) is getting old and also puts more and more strain on her physical health every time, as well as risking her life.

This is turning into a massive rant, sorry. I'm just reaching the end of my tether. I'm having physical symptoms which are almost certainly a consequence of the worry, and I can tell that she is also incredibly weary of this illness sucking up all the joy in her life. I let down my students every day because my head is at home worrying about her, and I let down my fiancée every day because my body is at work leaving her alone, frightened and unsafe at home. I've kept things going for years now, but I just don't know what to do anymore and could do with some ideas.

Thanks for reading this rather long post!
That's a tough situation you've got!

I take it you've also 'consulted' forums that are dedicated to DID like PODS http://www.pods-online.org.uk/, but maybe here on a general forum for carers it could provide a different angle???

If so, I would say that your post saying that you have a critical immediate worry, but against a background of intense weariness and exhaustion from sustained year on year caring, does ring bells with so many of us - that 'deadly combo' of 'crisis + burnout'......

Often, I think personally, from having been on this forum myself for 18 months, it seems that joining can provide a fulcrum, almost, for the carer to say 'it can't go on like this', and seek a decisive change in their situation.

Does that resonate with you, do you think, that you now feel you just can't go on 'lurching' from crisis to crisis, clinging on with your fingernails, and living in a state of permanent mental and often physical emotion??

For those of us, like me, who are carers for an elderly person, we know that at some finite point, our duties will end, as nature takes its course and the elderly person reaches the end of their life. Perhaps, for us, 'hanging on with our fingernails' is a viable option (though we can't know just how long we do have to keep clinging!)(we only know that at some point, then yes, our duties will end)

But for those like you, caring for a partner (let alone those caring for their children), that 'expectation' is simply not there.....

So 'waiting it out' is not an option.

Maybe both of you are at 'burn-out', and that is a signal to both of you that it is time to take stock, and hopefully, come up with a new 'strategy' for your lives together? (Depressingly, relying on the NHS for support doesn't seem to be a reliable part of that strategy, given that support is expensive, and the NHS, as you say, is very reluctance to help in a crisis if it requires admission.....)

Sorry that none of this is specific, and I do wish you both all the very best possible.
How awful for you. You sound like your doing amazing holding things together so give yourself a little break. I've had to phone the crises team again tonight, and found them to have a similar response. They suggested that my partner wait til Monday to ring his gp which when he can't see himself getting through the next hour is quite a big ask. Anyway no advice I guess but just thought I'd say well done for being so supportive and hold on. X
Thanks so much for your responses. Kari, I'm sorry that you also have to deal with the joys of the crisis team and I hope that the GP was able to offer something more productive today!

Jenny, strangely enough I'd never thought of visiting forums for dissociation as a carer, but that's a brilliant idea, either for me to do, or I could encourage my partner to seek help and support there herself.

That definitely resonates with me. We've had worse crises than this before, but none have got to me quite like this one has, because I think I'm just so worn out. And I think as you say, I could hang on for a bit and I know there's a bit of fight left in me, but as there is no likely end to my caring role in the foreseeable future, it feels like at some point I will just completely burn out, probably at a time when she really needs me to be strong!

The crisis team unfortunately didn't exceed my expectations and were dismissive and somewhat patronising, but my partner's therapist (who's quite high up in the service) agrees with me and is going to try to speak to them so hopefully will be able to ensure that this crisis ends safely with some sort of hospital admission.

It has really helped to offload a bit (thanks!) and so I plan to keep on going until she is (hopefully) admitted, and once this crisis has passed, I will try to initiate a conversation with my partner about how we're both feeling and how best to support each other moving forward.

Thanks so much for your kind words and advice.
Have you been offered counselling? I'm often labelled "capable" but that doesn't mean that you can manage the unmanageable, in fact I sometimes think that the more educated and well spoken you are, the fewer services you get, saved for those who cannot "cope" and are therefore more "deserving". In your line of work, you are expected to be supporting others, time you now insisted that someone supported you. Maybe you have someone in your union or similar who might help, as teaching is already a stressful occupation. I had counselling after a series of horrible, life changing events. I ended up disabled trying to care for two others, and recognised that I was teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Counselling helped me hugely, to restore my self worth; to teach me to be content with what I was doing, not constantly beat myself up for what I couldn't; and to set a clear set of priorities. In the meantime, consider asking for time off (although I appreciated that is difficult).
Hi jenna i have bipolar and sometimes disassociate but luckily it has never led to anything for me. But lets just say i would never drive a car! I try now to manage all my things with lots of self help strategies as you are right the crisis team are hopeless. And now waiting for phychotherapy hubby has respite care now also.

It seems to me that you are doing an amazing job in supporting your loved one for years.

From my own experiences of supporting my son through acute episodes of psychosis (at times dissociation) when the situation is heading towards crisis, something has to give. You and your partner can’t carry on like this. What I found helpful was to surround myself with a support system that in turn helped us to find a way forward. Support will not find its way to you and mental health offer little outside the medical model. My son endured 7 attempts with different antipsychotics over 2 years. The most effect they had on him came in the form of side effects!!!

Start with PODS www.pods-online.org.uk Start by widening your knowledge and make the time to attend events and training form the website. I often contact the events and ask for service user or family member discounts.

ISPS (International Society for the Psychological & Social Approaches to Psychosis) have events throughout the country, which I attend and find so helpful. http://www.ispsuk.org You need to join but it is a minimal cost for carers and gives you access to latest papers and theories and recovery models.

INTERVOICE http://www.intervoiceonline.org and the hearing voices network http://www.hearing-voices.org are great for hearing voices including experiencing unusual beliefs.

Personal stories of recovery give us so much hope. Marius Romme and Sandra Escher have a book called ‘Living with Voices: 50 Stories of Recovery’ which has become my bible. I have read the personal accounts over and over.

Something to watch is Eleanor Longden’s TED TALK on YouTube http://www.ted.com/talks/eleanor_longde ... anguage=en#

As Eleanor says, ‘the light never goes out’.

Through the supportive network I have built around me, I know that not only is it possible for my son to recover from psychosis but inevitable.

Together we continue to make sense of his experiences and see his breakdown as a breakthrough. Things were not right in his life but now he has a chance to build a satisfying, enjoyable life, however long it takes to get there.

Hope this helps

Hi anna thanks for the links i will definately be joining one of them
Thanks so much for your replies. Unfortunately the day I after I posted, my fiancée dissociated and took an overdose and after she was medically cleared she was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. I got through it mainly because my anger at the crisis team blocked out any other feelings for a while! (I've always felt anger more easily than other emotions).

bowlingbun, I am under an MH team, but even after giving it my best shot I couldn't make it work with the therapist I had and was told I'd be assigned a new worker in the new year, so realistically I ought to chase that up, rather than sulking that I've not heard anything... I've looked into a couple of counselling places (both charities and private), but it's hard to find places that can work around my schedule!

Jade, sorry to hear that you have also had negative experiences with the crisis team; I hope you get your psychotherapy soon.

Anna, all those links look absolutely amazing, thanks so much for taking the take to share your experience and sources of support. I will take a look through them, as I'm sure they'll be very helpful.
Hi Jenkins, the right therapist is so important. I didn't think much of one I had, until I arrived very early. Counsellor arrived on a powerful motorbike in leathers - he changed before counselling began. I used to ride a Yamaha RD250 in hot pants and a midriff top in Australia many years ago. Having discovered this about me, he realised that I was struggling because I felt "hemmed in" on all sides. Things got better from then on.